The notion of health care in the context of the United States has always been a challenging and ambiguous concept due to the issues and concerns associated with the quality and consistency of care. Some of the most commonly recognized issues in US health care include the lack of insurance coverage and high medical costs. The latter eventually becomes a burden for an individual as well as the associated family. In order to combat this issue, public institutions commit to the reorganization of the healthcare system to reallocate the financial burden from the families and increase the insurance coverage rates across the country.
To properly understand the issues prevailing in health care, dwelling on the reasons for poor and untimely care is necessary. According to the latest data collected during the COVID-19 pandemic, families with a diverse ethnic backgrounds or lower socio-economic status find themselves on the periphery of health services with no access to insurance and preventive care (McPhearson et al., 2020). Indeed, the researchers claim that “socioeconomic status, poor access to healthcare, labor inequalities, household overcrowding, racism, and other factors increase the likelihood of adverse outcomes from disease, natural hazards, and inadequate medical care” (McPhearson et al., 2020, p. 16). Hence, in the US context, public regulations need to tackle the increasing levels of relative poverty and one breadwinner for the family unit.
One of the most commonly known approaches to health care reform is the introduction of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly addressed as Obamacare. The researchers state that this legislation has modified insurance coverage in two major ways. The first major change was the justification of the insurance marketplace with multiple federal and private options to choose from, whereas the second advantage was the expenditure of insurance “to individuals and families with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty line—about US$35,000 for a family of four” (McIntyre & Song, 2019, p. 1). However, while presenting undeniable evidence of the redefinition of health care and positive change in terms of ensuring US residents, the Act now remains under scrutiny. Essentially, Obamacare presented little evidence of presenting insurance to groups and families previously marginalized due to socio-economic hardships and implicit discrimination (McIntyre & Song, 2019). Hence, while helping populations who need minor interference, federal insurance overlooks the importance of engaging with the community with little to no experience with preventive care.
As far as preventive care is concerned, the US social paradigm embraces the concept of individualism as an inherent part of social culture. Individualism can be defined as a social phenomenon characterized by self-reliance rather than collective control. While applicable to the US culture in general, the individualistic perception of health care is irrelevant due to the fact that most social groups are physically incapable of providing health services for themselves and their families.
The researchers imply that the overall dependence on a family unit is unethical because the duty of saving one’s life applies to the definition of social good, or “individual, community and societal well-being in the domains of environmental justice, inclusion, and peace, achieved by engaging unconventional systems and utilizing innovative technologies, aiming to promote social justice” (Mor Barak, 2019). Thus, for example, when dealing with mental challenges, the only viable solution is for public institutions to collaborate with external stakeholders in order to develop the opportunity to find additional funding and preventive health services for families (Carbonell et al., 2020). Hence, taking both financial and insurance issues into consideration, it may be concluded that health care and its social implications are not subject to individualism, as they are explicitly related to the overall state of social good in the community. Instead of burdening families, it is vital governments find ways to engage with third-party providers and health promoters to increase well-being rates.
Carbonell, A., Navarro‐Pérez, J. J., & Mestre, M. V. (2020). Challenges and barriers in mental healthcare systems and their impact on the family: A systematic integrative review. Health & Social Care in the Community, 28(5), 1366-1379. Web.
McIntyre, A., & Song, Z. (2019). The US Affordable Care Act: Reflections and directions at the close of a decade. PLoS Medicine, 16(2). Web.
McPhearson, T., Grabowski, Z., Herreros-Cantis, P., Mustafa, A., Ortiz, L., Kennedy, C., Tomateo, C., Lopez, B., Olivotto, V., & Vantu, A. (2020). Pandemic injustice: spatial and social distributions of COVID-19 in the US epicenter. Journal of Extreme Events, 7(04). Web.
Mor Barak, M. E. (2019). Social good science and practice: A new framework for organizational and managerial research in human service organizations. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance, 43(4), 314-325. Web.